If you want the best view of the stunning Costa Rican rainforests, zip
lining and aerial tram riding go well above every other option.
A five-minute-drive away is
Jaco Beach, replete with
hotels at various price points.
Jaco Beach has California-like
waves and is popular with
About two hours inland from
Jaco (and worth the drive) is
Poas Volcano National
Park, with an active (but safe)
volcano emitting steam and
occasional lava. The park
offers a spectacular bird-like
view into the mouth of the
I AM AFRAID OF HEIGHTS. But that does not stop me from frequently doing zip line tours and taking aerial cable tram rides
in places ranging from South and Central American rainforests
to frigid mountain slopes in the Canadian Rockies.
I do this without hesitation because (a) the spectacular view
you get when on a bird-like journey above compellingly beautiful terrain is all the incentive I need to momentarily suspend
my height phobia and (b) what both tram riding and zip lining
have in common is that they each require the same amount of
athletic ability, which is absolutely none.
At venues such as Rain Forest Adventures, near the Paci;ic
coastal town of Jaco, Costa Rica, they follow what has become a
universal safety protocol, attaching you to the double-steel cables of the zip line with a foolproof safety harness that you can’t
get out of until you’re unstrapped at the end of the ride. Because
all zip line cables run downhill at a moderate grade—gravity
does all the work for you. I have met zip line riders in their 80s
and as young as eight years old at various
Rain Forest Adventures is particularly
good because it also has a cable tram sys-
tem that will take you up along the 222-
acre mountain rainforest route,
where you can get off at the
top and ride the zip lines back down. The tram has a bilingual
guide in each car, who explains in detail all the great ;lora and
fauna you see. In both the trams and zip lines, you are typically
suspended between 35 and 100 feet above the ground below.
If that does not provide enough adrenaline for you, they offer
an almost vertical, 164-foot climb up a small waterfall. Again,
you are attached with a safety harness to the line that runs up
the waterfall. (I skipped that adventure, because it clearly does
require athletic ability.)
Once you are back down the mountainside, you’ll ;ind various placid things to explore, like a botanical garden, a butter;ly
garden and a small zoological exhibit loaded with creepy but
beautiful creatures such as vipers and huge spiders.
The venue, which has a massive restaurant, is good for
groups because it offers everything from big private dinner
events to competitive treasure hunts through the rainforest.
In both the trams and zip lines, you are typically
suspended between 35 and 100 feet above
the ground below. They also offer an almost
vertical, 164-foot climb up a small waterfall.